2 Cor. 12: “2I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to THE THIRD HEAVEN… 4How that he was caught UP INTO PARADISE, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.”
It is now clear that just as the Ark was the symbol of the presence of God, Exo. 25:22, wherein God revealed Himself among His people in Glory even so God chose the BODY OF JESUS TO SHOW FORTH HIS GLORY wherein dwelleth the fullness of the Godhead Bodily, Col. 2:9.
He being the first Temple of God made without hands.
If Jesus was the first Temple made without hands and also the second Heaven of God, where is the third Heaven?
What is the Body of Christ (the Church) called? What was the use of the Temple worship in Israel?
The Spiritual Body of Christ (The Church) – The Third Heaven Of God (Part A)
1) What was the Purpose of the The Temple Worship in Israel?
The Temple was the means by which the nation of Israel reached their God. They alone could enter its sanctuary. IT WAS THE SYMBOL OF GOD’S PRESENCE AND HIS POWER AMONG HIS PEOPLE, standing as the visible means of access to God.
Furthermore, it was an object of union that bound the nation together.
2) How many Temples were there in Israel?
THREE TEMPLES existed in Israel.
(i) SOLOMON’S TEMPLE existed for a little more than 420 years, 1027-607 BC to the time of exile. 1 Chron. 28:11; 2 Chron. 3:9; 2Kg. 25:9; Jer. 52:13.
(ii) ZERUBBABEL or the Temple of the return nearly 500 years from the time of its completion 537 BC after 70 years of desolation, when Herod began to transform the old into the new Temple, Ezra 6:3; and lastly,
(iii) HEROD’S TEMPLE which was still under construction in the days of Jesus, lasting only about 90 years from the time he began to build in BC 20 to its destruction by Titus in August AD 70 (Matt. 24:2). Its place is now being occupied by a Muslim Mosque.
And so we read, “This is what the LORD says: Heaven is my throne and the earth is my footstool. SO DO YOU THINK YOU CAN BUILD A HOUSE FOR ME?… The God who made the whole world and everything in it is the Lord of the Land and SKY. HE DOES NOT LIVE IN TEMPLES BUILT BY HUMAN HANDS, therefore, their Temples and Priests… “Served unto the example and shadow of Heavenly things… Isa. 66:1; Acts 17:24; Heb. 8:5, NCV, KJV.
From the above, we can see that the Temples were mere symbols though God revealed His Glory in these places, but the reality of God’s Temple can only be found in the New Testament.
3) Who saw the vision of the departure of God’s Glory from Jerusalem?
Ezekiel in a vision saw the departure of God’s Glory when he wrote,
“The Cherubs then spread their wings and the wheels began to move with them, while the Glory of the God of Israel hovered over them. AND THE GLORY OF YAHWEH ROSE TO LEAVE THE CITY and paused on the Mountain to the east of the city, Ezek. 11:22-23 (the Jerusalem Bible); Lam. 1:6.
Meanwhile, the Glory has earlier departed from the Temple itself (Ezek. 10:15-22) before finally leaving the city.
All these were prophetic and shows clearly the emptiness of Jerusalem’s worship, which found fulfillment in the destruction of Jerusalem and the physical temple of Herod in AD 70, just as Ezekiel further wrote,
“It was just as I had seen it in the other visions, first by the Chebar Canal, and then later at Jerusalem WHEN HE CAME TO DESTROY THE CITY…” Ezek. 43:3_TLB.
And in realization of that which is to come, Jesus lamented over Jerusalem when He said;
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chicken under her wings, and ye would not: BEHOLD, YOUR HOUSE (TEMPLE) IS LEFT UNTO YOU DESOLATE (empty)…”
As Jesus was leaving the Temple grounds, his disciples came along and WANTED TO TAKE HIM ON A TOUR OF THE VARIOUS TEMPLE BUILDINGS, BUT HE TOLD THEM “ALL THESE BUILDINGS WILL BE KNOCKED DOWN, WITH NOT ONE STONE LEFT ON TOP OF ANOTHER. Matt. 23:37-38; 24:1-2, KJV, TLB.
And this took place in AD 70 by the Roman soldiers under Titus.
This is clear enough that the temple worship in Jerusalem even in the days of Jesus was an empty religious ritual, for the true Temple made without hands which was Christ Jesus Himself was standing right there in their midst, John 2:19-22.
And in recognition of this new order of worship, He told the Samaritan woman,
“But the HOUR COMETH, AND NOW is when the true worshippers shall WORSHIP THE FATHER IN SPIRIT and in truth (reality), John 4:23a. In other words, Jesus was serving God where He (God) dwells in His Spirit, He being the first true Temple of God the Father.
People of God, all of our pilgrimages to Jerusalem have nothing to do with the true worship of God, for God is right where you are now (inside of you).
Neither should you expect Him to come and set up His throne in a physical Temple in Jerusalem, in what the religious world call “second advent.” For the coming of the Lord is a continuous process and on-going. See this;
Micah 5:2, “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” The word is GOINGS FORTH (plural). Not just a first or second.
Therefore “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you”? ( 1 Cor. 3:16).
To be continued…